Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

A LOOK BACK: A Carpenters Christmas

dsc05349“It is the week of this Christmas and all through my mind,
Came the need for a holiday and some time to unwind.
I have written so many devotions with love and care
In hopes that you’ll discover the Christ that I share.”

While I have taken some time off of writing for the holidays, here’s a look back at a devotion that is no doubt as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. Click here to view today’s devotion.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Force Awakens

Read Luke 1:5-20

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’”

Yoda-LukeSo, this is a pretty awesome week and today is the reason it is awesome. Some of you, no doubt, know exactly why today is awesome. Others of you might be scratching your heads. Today is the day that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released in theaters. I am a huge Star Wars fan and am so glad to see Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) all reunited on the screen in a battle to save the galaxy from the evil Galactic Empire. Yes, this pretty much constitutes me as a nerd, and I am laying claim on it! Star wars is where it is at!

In anticipation of the new film, I have rewatched the Star Wars Saga, starting with Episode 1 and concluding with Episode 6. As I was watching them, I once again became enthralled with and in awe of Master Yoda’s philosophical and, if I may be completely honest, theological teachings. Yes, Star Wars is theological at its very core and, truth be told, are faith-based movies if I have ever seen any. The only difference between these and the films we know to be “faith-based” films produced by Christians, is that George Lucas and the writers of Star Wars use subtlety and allow the theological and philosophical components impact you as they do. They let the theological and faith elements speak for themselves, if you will.

One such example is, and one of my all-time favorite Yoda moments, is when he is teaching young Luke Skywalker while in exile on the planet Dagobah. He is teaching the young apprentice that if he is going to be a Jedi, he is going to need to confront the darkest parts of his life and conquer himself. If he doesn’t, those darkest parts will conquer him and lead him to the dark side. He needs to conquer and move beyond his fears, his anger, and is lack of faith in in the force, as well as in himself. But this, obviously, is no easy task.

In this scene, Luke sees his ship sink into a swamp, where he accidentally landed it, and he instantly loses hope. Yoda challenges him to use the force in order to bring the ship back up and onto dry land. Luke is doubtful he can do it. “It’s to big for me!” he exclaims. “Size matters not,” Yoda snaps back. He tells the Yoda that the force is in all things and transcends all things. He tells him, in essence, that there is nothing too big or too small for anyone of faith to handle. He then challenges him again to use the force in order to lift the X-Wing plane out of the swamp.

“I’ll try,” a doubtful Luke said. “No!” Yoda exclaimed. “Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” But Luke doesn’t get it. He still thinks the plane is too big FOR HIM to lift it out of the swamp; therefore, he only TRIES to lift it out, rather than just believing and doing what his master is trying to teach him. After failing in his attempt to lift the X-Wing, Yoda shakes his head in frustration and then proceeds to lift the plane out of the swamp through the power of the force. “I cannot believe it,” Luke exclaims. Yoda responds, looking Luke resolutely in the eyes, “That is why you fail.”

How true that is, not just in the intergalactic Star Wars universe, but in our lives as well. We claim to be people of faith, we claim that God has the power to build heaven on earth, to bring justice to the oppressed, to bring freedom to the poor, to bring release for the captive and bring hope, healing and wholeness, peace and tranformation to a world desperately in need of it. Yet, what are we doing? Not trying to do…but what are we doing to bring this about? Do we really believe or, like Luke, are we deflated by our own doubt and our own lack of faith? Do we really believe, or will we have the honesty that finally rose up in Luke to admit that we simply can’t believe? For it is that lack of belief that is the real reason we are failing to see any transformation in our lives…let alone in our world. Just as that acknowledgement didn’t mean Luke was hopeless, neither are we. Luke did eventually come to believe, and we can too; the choice is ultimately ours. Choose to build your faith up in God and allow God to work that tranformation in you and in the world around you.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“My success isn’t a result of arrogance – it’s a result of belief.” – Conor McGregor
PRAYER
Lord, help me in my unbelief so that I may fulfill all that it is that you created me for. Amen.

The Path to the Dark Side

Read 2 Timothy 1:6-8

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31 CEB)

yoda-jedi-councilOne of my favorite film series of all times is the Star Wars saga. I grew up watching the original series of films, “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “The Return of the Jedi”. While many people criticized the newer films, finding them to be more about special effects and less to do with plot and character development, I actually disagree with that. The Phantom Menace for example, which was my least favorite of the films, was still filled with the same story and character development as the others. And we find great wisdom in it as well.

In it we come across a young Anakin Skywalker who, as all fans know right from the get-go, will one day become Darth Vader. With that said, he wasn’t always bad and, in fact, a Jedi comes to see great hope in his abilities to naturally tap into the force and so he decides to train him. In order for Anakin to be trained, however, he would have to leave his mom (both he and his mom were slaves) as the Jedi could only secure his release. As it would any 9-year-old boy, having to leave his mother behind devastates and distresses him and he vows to come back and free her one day.

Yet, before any future Jedi can be trained, the council has to approve the person to be trained. Thus, the Jedi brings Anakin before the council to be questioned and, hopefully, approved. While they are impressed with Anakin’s natural ability to sense and use the force, Yoda (who is the head of the council) is concerned for this young boy as well. He states that he senses fear in Anakin. “You have much fear in you. You fear the loss of your mother, don’t you?” Yoda interrogated. Anakin replied defensively, “What’s that have to do with anything?”

Yoda’s face turned even more concerned. “Everything,” he exlaimed back! “Fear is the path that leads to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hatred. Hatred leads to suffering.” What Yoda is trying to convey to young Anakin is that, while fear is a natural part of life, if we allow it to control us it will lead us to dark and, often, deadly places. This is a profound truth and we don’t have to think far or wide in order to reach it. Look at post-World War I Germany. It lost a major world war, had been dumped with the expenses of that war by those who fought against them, and they had fallen into a terrible depression. Along came a young man, who was a former soldier, and would-be leader, who sensed the fear of the people, drummed up that fear, and used that fear to scapegoat groups of people as being the ones holding Germany down. Ultimately, Adolph Hitler’s personal fears, as well as the fears of Germany which he preyed upon, led to the rising up of one of the greatest evils in modern human history. Yes, fear is the path that leads to the dark side.

We live in such a fear-driven world right now. We are a people who are fearful of each other, we’re fearful of our leaders, we’re fearful of people with different politcial viewpoints, we’re fearful of people from other countries, we’re fearful of people from other religions, and we’re fearful of terrorism and a very real existenital threat to our lives and to our way of life. All of these things strike fear into the hearts of people; however, it is in that fear that I hear people suggesting all sorts of things that, in another time and place, they would be horrified at hearing others even suggest.

For us, the question is not whether or not we will experience fear. We will! The question should be for us, in the voice of Yoda, is this: “What, to fear, will your response be? Hmmmm?” Will you succumb to your fears and place your faith wildly in the winds of rapid response? Or will you place your faith in force…rather, in the presence of God? Will you let your fears drive you, or will you let your God guide you? The one way leads to the dark side (e.g. anger, hatred, and suffering), the other way leads to forgiveness, mercy, compassion, hope, love, joy and peace. Yours to make, young padiwan, the choice is.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“To him who is in fear everything rustles.” – Sophocles
PRAYER
Lord, drive my fears far from me, for they are not of you. Fill me, rather, with faith and hope and love. Amen.

Name Your Demons

Read Matthew 8:28-34

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.“ (John 8:36)

supergirlThe last thing that I probably needed in my life was to get hooked on yet another television series. As many of you probably know from previous devotions, I already am hooked on The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, The Voice, House of Cards, and certain news programs in order to keep up with the world around me. So the last thing I needed to do was to add another show on top of it. Yet, when I saw that they were coming out with a television show on Supergirl, I just could not resist. I have a thing for Supergirl, call this my confessional, and I was super stoked to see her being given a proper treatment. Well, I wasn’t disapponinted.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is the show smart, fun and witty, it is also rather deep for a “superhero” film. The more and more I watch of this show, the more and more I start to see that there is something larger going than just the stories themselves. Each week I find that I am not only rooting for Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl), but I find myself relating with her, and learning from her. I find myself laughing, crying and emoting over stuff I am going through in life. This show has been so well written and thoughtout that it literally transcends mere entertainment and is, at least for me, feeding my soul. All of this in a superhero flick.

This past week’s episode is a prime example. In it she battles a robot that seems hell bent on destroying her. What’s worse, this robot seems to be out of control and virtually unstoppable. She just cannot seem to get an edge on it and it seems to be overpowering her, despite how strong she is. The robot is super fast, he can turn himself into a tornado, and has a strenght that matches, if not bests, the strength of Supergirl. What’s more, his super solid exterior makes him a difficult target. Not even Kara’s superpunches cannot penetrate him and she finds herself at a loss.

As it turns out, there is another thing Kara is battling that is an even stronger force than this robot. That force is the anger that she has internalized of the years. At first she thought that she was just mad because the guy she likes is taken and that she’ll never find a special someone for herself. Yet, as the episode goes on, we find out that there is “anger beneath the anger.” She discovers that she was angry at her parents sending her to earth and choosing to stay and die on planet Krypton. She was angry that she never got to say goodbye to her adopted father, never having closure following his disappearance and death. She was angry because as normal as she tried to be, she was not normal. She was angry because she, as a girl, felt invalidated and felt that she had to work twice as hard to prove herself. Her rage was such that she was losing control of it, which was having some pretty awful consequences.

Looking back on the episode, the robot (though it was a real enemy that posed a real threat) was a living embodiment of the hard, brutal, unquenched rage that was burning inside her. It wasn’t until she came to terms with the things that she was struggling with that she was able to focus her rage in appropriate ways. It’s not that the rage within her disappeared, but that she was able to work through it rather than be controlled by it. The challenge for us today is to be like Kara Zor-El. We need to penetrate deep into ourselves and reflect on the hurts and the wounds we find deep inside. Are you angry, are you hurt, are you envious, are you bitter and/or unforgiving? Whatever the case, name your demons, call them out for what they are, and then be free of them. Allow God to turn your struggles in to triumph.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“If you don’t deal with your demons, they will deal with you, and it’s gonna hurt.” – Nikki Sixx

PRAYER
Lord, help me to name my demons so that, through your power and authority, I may cast them far away from me. Amen.

 

The Gospel Truth

Read Luke 20:9-19

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who listen to God’s word and do it.’” (Matthew Luke 20:9-19 CEB)

copy-of-jesus-faceIf I were to walk into any given church, or up to any random person, and ask them what the heart of the Gospel message is, I would more than like receive something like the following: “The Gospel message is that God sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world so that he could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because Jesus was perfect and without sin, he became the spotless lamb led to the slaughter in order that he may die the death we deserve in order that those who believe in him might be atoned to God and saved.” This is the, in essence, the modern, popular Christian understanding of the heart of the Christian Gospel. Jesus came to die so that we might live.

Yet,  when you read the Gospels themselves, we find that Jesus dying as a sacrifice for our sins is just a part of the Gospel story. It is not the whole of it. Yes, Jesus’ death and resurrection are vitally important to Christian theology, Christology, and the Gospel message; however, only so when it is told in the context of the other components that we find in the Gospel. When those components are missing, what we end up is with a skewed, inaccurate portrait of the purpose of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as a skewed and inaccurate portrait of God’s purpose for sending Jesus, the Christ.

While it is certainly true that Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought about salvific and transformative atonement from our sins, to only tell that part of the story does an injustice to the life and the teachings of the Christ. In fact, it not only does a disservice, but it completely ignores Jesus’ life and teachings altogether, as if they are simply secondary and/or non-important. Yet, was Jesus’ life and teachings trivial? Was his life and teachings secondary, just a necessary back-story to his ultimate death and resurrection? If that is the case, if Jesus’ teachings are trivial and secondary to the work of salvation in the world, then why go down the route of teaching and preaching at all. The Gospel writers could have simply just had Jesus proclaim that his the messiah and the son of God, have people reject that, have him crucified, died, buried, resurrected and be done with it.

But that is not what the Gospel writers did. Rather, they included the whole of Jesus’ life and they dedicated most of their time on Jesus’ teachings. For them, the person of Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings were both as integral to God’s salvation plan as his death and resurrection were. Jesus came, not to die, but to bring TRUE LIFE into the world. To show them what God means by LOVING GOD and NEIGHBOR. Jesus came to set the example and to personally deliver the beginnings of God’s reign in the world. But, like Jesus’ own parable of the wicked tenants suggests, some of those in the world to whom the father sent the son (e.g. the Romans, the politicians, some of the religious leaders, etc.), rejected his identity, as well as his authority, and tried to eliminate him.

That plot, though, ultimately failed; rather, what happened was that God made the greatest good EVER come out of both the life and the death of Jesus. Instead of remaining dead, Jesus resurrected and now sits in power and authority in a complete union with God. Those who believe in him have found the power of redemption, as well as the transformative presence of the Holy Spirit and the perfecting grace of God in their lives. They are not saved, but are transformed and are living out their FAITH in real and tangible ways.

The challenge for us is this, don’t be misled by a lopsided and misguided Gospel. Jesus wasn’t born merely to die. What kind of God would scheme up that kind of plan? Rather, Jesus was born so the he might LIVE in the world and that through him we might attain TRUE LIFE. Even in the face of evil, and even when finding himself in the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus perservered and triumphed over death because in him was a presence greater than death…the very presence of GOD. Through our belief in Christ, through our following his example as detailed in the Gospel, and through his death and resurrection, we have found REDEMPTION and have been placed on the narrow path that leads to life. Let’s start walking it.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“We cannot have the fruits of the gospel without its roots.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
PRAYER
Lord, I open my heart to the truth of your Gospel. Perfect me in it and set me a part a witness to its power. Amen.

 

Crossroads

Read Luke 6:43-49

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Jesus said to everyone, ‘All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will save them.’” (Luke 9:23-24 CEB).

CrossroadSince the recent attacks on Paris shocked the world, there has been a lot of debate on what the appropriate response to all of this is. What’s more, the current Syrian refugee crisis has come front and center as people realize the possibility that terrorists can blend in with the refugees and sneak into the countries who accept them in. Naturally, people are worried (and even afraid) of the dangers looming over the decision of letting minimally vetted people into their country.

Without doubt, many Christians have entered the debate coming from varying angles. Some Christians have argued that we either shouldn’t allow any refugees in or we should only allow Christians in. These Christians feel that, though they have sympathy toward the refugees, it is most important to protect our homeland and its citizens. Because there is no real way to adequately screen the millions of refugees pouring out of Syria, these Christians and many others (regardless of religious affiliation) fear that allowing such people in could have catestrophic and deadly consequences.

Many have argued that the Christian response would be to welcome them in. After all, God in the Hebrew Scriptures called the Israelites, and by extension us,  to be welcoming of and kind to foreigners and strangers. Also, Jesus called for such mercy and compassion toward others as well. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a few parables on the Kingdom of Heaven. The last parable describes God separating the faithful from the wicked, just as a king who separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep, being faithful, have lived lives of radical compassion and service toward all who are in need. The goats were wicked because, though they claimed to follow the king, they refused to live lives of radical compassion and service toward all who are in need.

The point of this is not to choose sides between the two options, or anything in between. That is not my job, nor my goal, in writing this devotion. That discernment is up to you, as a Christian or person of faith. The point I am trying to bring out, by highlighting this current issue, is that Christians today find themselves in a place where faith goes far beyond the pew on a Sunday morning. It is one thing to say, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus.” It is a completely different thing to deny yourself (e.g. your desires, your successes, your status, your hopes and your fears), pick up your cross, and follow Jesus.

Today, we find ourselves, ever increasingly, at crossroad not unlike what Jesus’ disciples and the earliest Christians found themselves at. Evil, injustice, and oppression are rearing their ugly heads in our world at alarming rates. No longer is it okay for Christians to be complacent as if the only thing that matters is “professing” Jesus’ name with their lips. That sort of “faith”, as James rightly exclaims, is dead! That is really no faith at all. What Christ is looking for, as is clear in the sheep/goats parable, is followers who are committed to LIVING out their faith in the world. Christ is looking for Christians who will seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Christ is looking for people who will resist the status quo like he did. He is calling us to stand against injustice, evil and oppression. He is calling us to be committed to radically compassionate service toward all of the “least of these”, regardless of who they are, where they’re from, or what others think of them or say about them. There can be no debate that this, for Jesus Christ, is what being his follower is all about.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.” – Jesus, the Christ (Matthew 7:13-14 CEB).

PRAYER
Lord, keep steering me toward the resurrected life of justice, mercy, compassion, humility and faithful action. Amen.

 

Notre Dieu de la Solidarité

Read Luke 10:25-37

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; [God] saves those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18 CEB)

earth-hour-2009It has been a week since the terrible attacks that were simultaneously waged on the people of Paris, France. In those attacks 129 were killed, including one American, and tons more were injured. It was the bloodiest attack on France since World War II and the country was seriously thrown into a state of emergency as the French government tries to figure out how to cope amid such evil. On top of this, as evidence of the small world we live in, it turns out that there were people I knew over in Paris during the night of the attacks.

Instantly, in response to these attacks, people started showing their solidarity with France and the French people, by flying French Flags and by changing their profile pictures and covers to the French flag and/or French colors. Youy can go anywhere on Facebook without seeing a billion little French Flag icons, each of them represent a person who is standing in compassionate solidarity for the country of France and the city of Paris. It doesn’t take too long to remember back to September 11, 2001 to remember that when the United States of America was attacked, the French flew the American Flag in solidarity with us.

Aside from all of the positive reaction to the egregious evil that was committed against the French people on that evening of Friday, November 13th, there has been some negative reaction as well. Out of fear people are saying all sorts of things. When fear strikes at our hearts, we often find ourselves rationalizing and justifying things that would horrify us in normal situations. I have heard a Christian pastor on YouTube calling out the sins of France as a reason for the attacks, much like some pastors did in the days following September 11th. Conversely, there are no doubt antitheists who have seen this as just another reason why religions should be eradicated from the world. Such people perpetuate the old, tired and groundless argument that “religion is the cause of all of the world’s wars.” That is of course just as untrue and ridiculous as the aforementioned pastor’s egregious theology that God used the attacks to “punish” the French people.

Of course, there are egregious political claims being made as well. All of these things, in the end, continue the work to divide, rather than unite, humanity. Why is it that human beings can’t seem to find common ground on anything. Even as millions show the French colors in solidarity with their pain and suffering, others are divisively working to drive more fear and separation in the hearts of those around them? Where is God in all of this? Where is God in the attacks? Where is God in the aftermath of the attacks? Where is God in the midst of such crazed and poisonouss rhetoric?

The truth is that God is present through the people who are showing their love to the French people and to all peoples who suffer. Through the neighbors who pulled strangers into their homes to shelter them from the terrorists, to the first responders literally picking people, and sometimes pieces of people, off of the streets of Paris, to the millions flying French colors to show their love and support, GOD IS PRESENT and GOD IS WORKING. God is present through the psychologists, the doctors, the nurses, and hospital workers. God is present through the humanitarian workers seeking to relieve the French people, as well as the countless refugees seeking refuge from persectution. God does not discriminate the way we do. God does NOT “punish” people. We are the ones who punish each other and ourselves with hateful and ungodly ideas and theologies. The question for us is, where are we? Where are we in all of this? Are we with God in the midst of such senseless and evil tragedies, or are we with the divisive and wicked world? My prayer is that we find ourselves standing with God in solidarity with and support of the hurt, the hopeless and the displaced.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Be wary of any belief or ideology that promotes division between you and your fellow human beings.” – Unknown, shared by Eugene Steficek on Facebook

PRAYER
Lord, place in the lives of the lost, the broken, the hurt, the hopeless, and the displaced so that I may stand in solidarity with and support of them. Amen.

 

The Categorical Imperative

Read Genesis 1:26-31; Psalm 23; Matthew 25:31-46

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Corinthians 4:2 NRSV)

In the church and in the corporate world, the word “stewardship” often floats around congregations in the form of campaigns to raise “funds” for the mission and ministries of the church. As such, many people hear the word “stewardship” as just a church-speak for, “cough up some dough for us.” This particular perception has risen up as a result of the way stewardship has been discussed and handled in the church and corporate settings.

Yet, the word steward is used in other ways that point to the fact that, deep down, we know stewardship to be more than just monetary support. Back in the day, flight attendants were known as Stewards and/or Stewardesses. The steward, in the airline industry, is the person who cares for the needs of the customers boarded on the plane. They fetch pillows, bring food and drink, listen to and address issues specific travelers may be having, and they instruct people of safety procedures in case of an emergency. What’s more, in the event of an emergency, the steward risks their own safety in order to save lives and get people off of the plane (if it has been grounded). The role of a steward is the same on trains and ships as well.

There are other examples of stewardship as well. Rather, than belabor the reader with a million examples of stewardship, it is more important to point to the definition of what a steward is, in order to better grasp the concept of stewardship. A steward is a person how cares for the needs of other people, organizations, events, and/or places. Thus, stewardship is the ethos that embodies the responsibility of caring for those needs, which absolutely includes the management and planning of resources. With that said, let us not simply limit resources to money. Google defines a resource as, “a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.”

In other words, stewardship is the embodiment of managing and planning resources, whether those resources are monetary, material, human, natural, or any other resource. Being a good steward is about managing those resources well; however, this sounds more corporate and less spiritually worded. In terms of being Christian and living out our Christian faith, being a good steward means taking good care of all that God has given us and making proper use of the resources God has given us. If we don’t share our resources with others, we are not being good stewards, and the same is true if we neglect, abuse, misuse, or mismanage the resources shared with us.

Thus, to be a good steward, spiritually speaking, we must recognize that ALL THINGS are FROM GOD. Our money, our natural resources, our real estate and property, our congregation members (in the case of churches), our staff members (in the case of corporations and/or organizations), and all other resources are from God. If we do not recognize the divine value within each of the non-living resources, and the divine presence and/or image in all living resources (especially in humans), then we are not embodying the ethos of good Stewardship. We cannot abuse/neglect the environment, be misers, and/or see our congregation members, our staff, our friends and family as expendable means to an end, and still call ourselves good stewards, let alone stewards in any sense of the word.

This latter part is often overlooked in stewardship talks and campaigns and, yet, is the most important part of stewardship. PEOPLE MATTER and are to be valued. LIVING BEINGS are ends unto themselves and never should be seen as a means to an end (to summarize Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative). So, today I challenge you to start evaluating your stewardship and start working toward being the best stewards you can be. That is what it means to be disciples of Christ, that is what it takes to truly follow Christ and uphold Christian values. STEWARDSHIP IS VITAL. Be good stewards and work to user in God’s Kingdom on Earth.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.” – Immanuel Kant
PRAYER
Lord, forgive me for when I’ve used people as a means to an end. Help me to treat people as divine persons and not tools. Amen.